Janie was just over three years old and it was family reunion time. She was very excited that everyone was coming to the farm, especially her Great Aunt Mary. Aunt Mary wasn't like so many other ladies in the family. She always had a hug and a kiss for Janie, and she would let you talk. Of course Janie still had to learn all the right things to say. It was so hard for Janie to be prime and proper, still she would do it for Aunt Mary.
Oh, she had arrived. Janie could hardly stand still, yet she knew she must because she would get a kiss. Yes Janie did, and she also learned how to place knives, forks and spoons beside each of the plates. The napkins were special too for they were linen, they to had a special place. Then Aunt Mary showed Janie how to sit and place a napkin in her lap carefully placing one hand over the other and above all sit still and you mustn't speak unless spoken to. Oh, this part was so very hard to do, for Janie was just bursting inside to say all the things she had learned and experienced since last she had seen Aunt Mary.
The great oak table had all the extra leaves and the linen table cloth was pressed, not one wrinkle. How could there be so much food? Beef, pork, chicken and most of all a huge bowl of mashed potatoes with wonderful butter dripping down the sides. Janie had helped make the butter and had even had a small glass of buttermilk; it was heaven, she thought. She also knew that in the big pantry with all the high shelves were all kinds of pies and cakes, just out of reach for Janie had stood on tippy toes to try. Then Janie spied the most wonderful sight of all. Scalloped potatoes and ham. How would she keep from wanting to lick the plate? Had she not been taught: waste not-want not!
The dinner was going wonderful and everyone was laughing and talking. Janie did not talk for she had not been spoken to. Little ladies did not know about tractors, farm animals, hay or crops. She really did though because she had ridden on the tractor and fed the animals hay. So why couldn't she talk about these things? Janie did however watch Aunt Mary and learned what each fork and spoon was and when to use these implements.
Soon everyone was finished with all the wonderful food. The chatter began and there was so much laughter. How Janie wished to be part of all this gaiety. Aunt Mary was sitting quietly with her hands in her lap and Janie did the same. OH finally, she was being addressed. Aunt Mary had asked, "What do you want to be when you grow up, Janie?"
Janie pondered this special question and then gave her best honest answer.
"Oh Aunt Mary, I want to grow up to be just like you, an Old Maid."
You could hear a pin drop for a hundred miles it was so quiet. Janie heard Grand Mother clear her throat and I knew this usually meant trouble. Not this time, for Aunt Mary intervened and kissed my forehead and said, "I am so glad and so proud of you Janie."
I will say that the next time I received a spanking, I do think I received 'one for good measure'.